Gale: Hawks’ cup defeat was a kick in the teeth

Hawks' goalscorer Ollie Palmer. Picture: Dave Haines
Hawks' goalscorer Ollie Palmer. Picture: Dave Haines
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The Hawks’ season went from bad to worse as they lost their Hampshire Senior Cup semi-final 2-1 against Southern League AFC Totton at Westleigh Park.

The hosts fell behind on the hour and, despite Ollie Palmer’s equaliser, conceded what proved to be the Totton winner eight minutes from time.

And Hawks boss Shaun Gale was understandably frustrated as his Blue Square Bet South strugglers continued to dramatically under-perform this campaign.

He said: ‘It’s a kick in the teeth – we’re just not doing it at the moment.

‘It’s not good enough.

‘After getting ourselves back in it, we then give away a poor goal at a set-piece.

‘We’re not giving ourselves a chance at the moment and it’s a massive disappointment.’

The visitors made the brighter start, launching some promising early raids.

The Hawks’ first threat came after six minutes when Steve Ramsey thundered in an angled drive which goalkeeper Grant Porter beat away.

The ball looked like falling to Palmer just three yards out, but the keeper grabbed it at the second attempt.

The Hawks upped their tempo and were suddenly finding plenty of space around the Totton area.

The visitors resumed the offensive, however, and it took a last-ditch block from Ryan Woodford to stop Nat Sherborne’s shot after his weaving run through the defence.

James Whicken also sent a shot past the post with Beazley at full stretch.

The home side came close to making the breakthrough on 25 minutes when Ramsey got on the end of Chris Arthur’s cross to fire against the far post.

Jones also went close with a shot on the turn but the evenly contested first half ended goal-less.

A sloppy start to the second half saw the Hawks almost twice gift Totton the lead.

Slips by Sam Pearce and Ryan Woodford allowed Jack Odam in, and on each occasion he put his shot too close to keeper Beazley.

The lively striker made up for it on the hour, though, to give Totton the all-important breakthrough.

A poor defensive header fell to the debut-making striker and he stretched to fire a perfect half volley into the far corner.

Stung by this reverse, the Hawks hit back and Palmer was denied when his shot thumped back off the post.

The home side dragged themselves level on 75 minutes when Palmer bundled the ball over the line from Jones’ low cross.

Eight minutes from time, however, the visitors got the winner. A long free-kick was launched into the Hawks’ area and when Beazley missed it the ball feel to Ryan Moss who knocked it into the unguarded net.

The Hawks put Totton under immense pressure but couldn’t find a way through.

Hawks: Beazley, Newton, Arthur, Ryan, Woodford, Pearce, Hinshelwood, Ramsey, Jones, Palmer, Igoe. Subs: McDonald, Hutchinson, Dolan, Hopkinson, Norton.

AFC Totton: Porter, Hill, Davies C, Richardson, Whicken, Campbell, Pettifer, Sherborne, Odam, Moss, Brown. Subs: Campion, Davies J, Jack, Gosney, Casey.